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I got this propaganda leaflet through my door today, this has been widely claimed by parties in favor of the British EU referendum:

brexit claim

We send the EU £350 million a week - let's fund our NHS instead

Does UK send that much money to the EU every week? Would a "leave" vote give the government £350 million a week to use on NHS?

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The claim is false.

According to the National Statistics Authority

The UK’s official gross contribution for 2014 before the application of the rebate was £19.1 billion. As I have made clear previously, this is not an amount of money that the UK pays to the EU each year. The full £19.1 billion is not a net contribution.

Letter from Sir Andrew Dilnot to Dominic Cummings

This is also confirmed by HM Treasury.

The problem with the claim is that first of all, a discount was negotiated by the UK in the 80's, so while the official membership cost is 19 billions, that money is not what is actually paid at all by the country. Secondly, part of those funds are returned later on to the country in form of subsidies.

A nice recap of this is provided by Full Fact which was further verified by In Facts.

enter image description here

Further debunking can be easily found on the Financial Times

Britain does not contribute a net £350m a week to the EU budget. Savings will not go automatically to the National Health Service.

and the Economist

Promises of more money rely on the claim that leaving the EU will save Britain’s EU budget payments of £350m ($510m) a week. But when the rebate and EU spending in Britain is accounted for, the net payment is only £120m a week.

  • 1
    Does the leaflet, or any other pro-leave material, claim that the amount is a net amount, rather than a gross amount? – Andrew Grimm Jun 23 '16 at 9:50
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    It claims we "send" that money, that means that it's an actual amount we send, thus a "net" amount. – Sklivvz Jun 23 '16 at 10:00
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    @AndrewGrimm yes, but that's not what's happening, the "rebate" happens before anything is sent. – Sklivvz Jun 23 '16 at 10:50
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    They mean the same thing. Factor refers to the multiplicative constant > 1 that would be needed to turn one number into the other. There is no way errors should be counted, at least between these two alternatives. %increase and factor are both common. Using a factor-of presentation doesn't "privilege" any number. One number being 202% of another is the same as there being a factor of 2 difference between the two. – user30557 Jun 23 '16 at 13:36
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    I agree that the claim is false; however, it appears that an almost equally worrisome true claim could also have been made. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Jun 23 '16 at 14:13

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